The way chicken used to taste

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yumbo
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The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/21/04 2:32 PM
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I hear a lot from older folks that chicken doesn't taste the same anymore. Is this true? Is this a function of how chickens are raised these days and what they're fed? I've not sampled free range chickens yet. Any chicken experts on this list that can shed some light on this?

-Yumbo

Grampy
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/21/04 2:41 PM
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Spend the extra for free-range or organically fed chickens. Murray's, D'Artagnan, Empire Kosher, or any number of others are excellent and will give you a sense of what farm-raised chicken used to be. They cook up much moister and have far more flavor. Also, apart from the way chickens are cruelly raised in mass production, there is greater risk of contamination in these overcrowded suroundings.

lleechef
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/21/04 2:54 PM
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I used to live out in farm country in the north of France. My friends Genevieve and Henri were dairy farmers but of course had chickens, rabbits, ducks, geese, etc. A typical chicken weighed about 8 lbs. Roast it for 4 hours, covered, it was DONE but the meat never fell off the bone. Best chicken I ever ate in my life. Before cooking, the skin was slightly orange, due to the fact that the chickens ate marigolds in the garden.

Kristi S.
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/21/04 3:35 PM
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What about brining the chicken overnight? Somewhere I read that doing that gives mediocre chicken a better flavor and texture.

KimChee43
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/21/04 3:58 PM
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I think one could say the same about pork. It doesn't taste as good as it used to years ago, probably because the amount of fat on the animal has been greatly reduced.

Bushie
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/21/04 4:00 PM
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Unfortunately, "organic" doesn't necessarily mean it's "free-range", so go with Free-Range. There is a definite difference in taste, and like Grampy mentioned, it's just a BETTER way to raise poultry.

Better for the "circle of life", better for your body, and better for your taste buds.


BarbaraCt
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/21/04 6:08 PM
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According to Alton Brown of the Food Network, brining works on almost all meats. He even brines shrimp. I have been brining chicken for a while, and it works. I bought a nice square container at Lines and Things, just like he uses. I used to "kosher" chicken, too, and then grill it. I am not an expert, but I would take kosher salt and liberally spread it on both sides of a split chicken and refrigerate for 24 hours. I would then put it on the grill until done, and eat with beer. I wouldn't wash off the salt, although, I think you are supposed to, as that is the reason you are doing it, to draw out the blood. I know that when I brine chicken, the water turns pink.
The "Cooks Magazine" did an article on different chicken and found that after brining, there wasn't much of a difference. They noted they could tell a difference without brining. I even brine wings before I buffalo them.

b-n-kchefservice
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/21/04 11:12 PM
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wheather I am frying, roasting, grilling or smoking I brine my birds.
2quarts of water
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup w suger
1/8 cup b suger
2 bay leaves
10 pepper corns
1 tbls garlic pwdr
1 tbls onion pwdr
bring to boil let cool
ad chicken 24 hours
cook anyway you want it will taste great.

oops what am I thinking this is supposed to be a secret.
Barry From MI

UncleVic
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/21/04 11:48 PM
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I have to say buy some chicks, raise them in the backyard and slaughter them after a few weeks... Nice, tender and tasty (and hopefully chemical free).. Anyways, got a good chuckle when I read the topic "The way chicken used to taste"... For some reason I remember when I was a kid, and my dad thought he was BBQ King of West Michigan... Never had I ate more burnt / dried out chicken then back in them days... Luckily for me Mom was / is good in the kitchen even to this day!!!! (Might have starved otherwise).

Cosmos
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Thu, 04/22/04 7:14 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by BarbaraCt

According to Alton Brown of the Food Network, brining works on almost all meats. He even brines shrimp....


I tried brine shrip, but they're so hard to scewer for grilling.

Seriously, we buy free range chickens from a local farmer here in central, NY...at a premium, mind you. It has great texture, its pink...not yellow, or orange, and it doesn't come with huge blobs of fat attached to it, and it tastes great.

Alexander
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Thu, 04/22/04 7:28 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by yumbo

I hear a lot from older folks that chicken doesn't taste the same anymore. Is this true? Is this a function of how chickens are raised these days and what they're fed? I've not sampled free range chickens yet. Any chicken experts on this list that can shed some light on this?

-Yumbo


Yes, it is true. Most commercially raised chickens are fed a diet of fishmeal (that's where the menhaden go) and consequently have a somewhat fishy flavor when cooked. A couple of generations have now grown up not knowing the taste of real chicken, thinking it should taste like something from Captain D's. The free-range route may be all you have to rely on. I'm lucky in that there are a couple of local commercial chicken farms that do not use fishmeal, but rather rely on the old-fashioned grain-based feeding. Their chickens, if not tasting the way the ones I raised tasted, are still pretty good.

tiki
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Thu, 04/22/04 5:31 PM
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Feerange is definatly my preference---birds that eat BUGS taste better! In California i used to feed mine the slugs and snails i would trap in the garden with beer, they love snails!! I liked to feeb two out door pens for them---one on each side of the coop with different doors----when the greenery in one pen was all eaten I would open the other side and close one with no greenery and water it ---even through in grass and flowers. They love it and seemed to be healthy and fat and tasty too!!!Not to mention better eggs!

Alexander
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Fri, 04/23/04 8:18 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by tiki

Feerange is definatly my preference---birds that eat BUGS taste better! In California i used to feed mine the slugs and snails i would trap in the garden with beer, they love snails!! I liked to feeb two out door pens for them---one on each side of the coop with different doors----when the greenery in one pen was all eaten I would open the other side and close one with no greenery and water it ---even through in grass and flowers. They love it and seemed to be healthy and fat and tasty too!!!Not to mention better eggs!


From my childhood I fondly remember a flock of our chickens (freerange and protected by our geese who would on occasion kill trespassing foxes) chasing one of their number who had found a dead mouse somewhere. I was thrilled to see one finally eat it I also saw one of them eat a small grass snake.

The chickens did indeed taste better and I agree with you on the eggs.

howard8
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Mon, 04/26/04 2:56 PM
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I also brine a lot, particularly chickens.
I find it certainly increases the moisture and overall juiciness but not the overall flavor.
I also think the taste and quality of chicken is not what it used to be.
I recently cooked a D'artagnan pheasant and damn if it didn't taste like a very flavorful chicken from years gone past.

renfrew
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Mon, 04/26/04 3:06 PM
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Kosher poultry consistently wins awards over non-kosher and the reasons is usually due to the ineherent brining that occurs with the kashering process.

I dont know if the fishmeal vs non fishmeal thing is true, but the major kosher brands do not feed fishmeal to their chickens.

tiki
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Mon, 04/26/04 5:08 PM
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Actually this topic is one that i think on often---not just chidken but everything----i know i hear all the time from foks that say try as they may no matter what they do alot of the foods they cook tiday just dont taste the same as "when Grandma cooked them"---i think the reason they dont TASTE the same is that the food today is NOT the same----i kbow that if you where to to the average walmart superstore--or safeway and buy all the ingrediants to make my grandmothers sunday dinners, there is no doubt in my mind that the vegies you get will not be same varieties that grandema bought or grew and the quality cant possibley be as good---most vegies for instance are now "market variety" seeds that are developed for uniformity and shelflife. Fifty yearst is definatly not true today ago most of the food my grandparents ate was locally produced and FRESH PICKED AND VINE RIPE-or they put it up themselves---that is definatly no longer true. Theres no way for mass produced foods to taste that good-----anyone who has ever waited with baited breath for thier tomatoes to finally ripen in the back yard knows this-----well todays chickens arent any different---i will garantee that the same is true of beef thats feed lot fed, and i know theres a guy donw there in Texas thats selling wild pigt---and its GOOD---the best pork you ever ate--well ate least since i was a kid and we had resteraunts that saved food scraps for the pigs my grandparents
raised.Theres no doubt about--mass production,shipping concerns and shelf life are of more concern to agribusiness then taste!

Cosmos
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Mon, 04/26/04 6:08 PM
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Excellant point! My major consternation is produce genetically engineered for looks and easy transport...those cherry red tomatoes that taste same as the greenish-orange ones of our youth. The other one is leaf lettuce that has been cross-engineeered with iceberg so it lasts longer in transit and on the shelves....AAARRGGGHH. If I wanted iceberg, I'd buy it!

emsmom
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Tue, 04/27/04 9:06 AM
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I remember, growing up, that we saved our table scraps and a friend of my Dads came by and picked them up to feed to his pigs. Then at Christmas, he would always bring us a country ham and other times during the year fresh sausage. Nothing we buy now taste anything like that did then
quote:
Originally posted by tiki

Actually this topic is one that i think on often---not just chidken but everything----i know i hear all the time from foks that say try as they may no matter what they do alot of the foods they cook tiday just dont taste the same as "when Grandma cooked them"---i think the reason they dont TASTE the same is that the food today is NOT the same----i kbow that if you where to to the average walmart superstore--or safeway and buy all the ingrediants to make my grandmothers sunday dinners, there is no doubt in my mind that the vegies you get will not be same varieties that grandema bought or grew and the quality cant possibley be as good---most vegies for instance are now "market variety" seeds that are developed for uniformity and shelflife. Fifty yearst is definatly not true today ago most of the food my grandparents ate was locally produced and FRESH PICKED AND VINE RIPE-or they put it up themselves---that is definatly no longer true. Theres no way for mass produced foods to taste that good-----anyone who has ever waited with baited breath for thier tomatoes to finally ripen in the back yard knows this-----well todays chickens arent any different---i will garantee that the same is true of beef thats feed lot fed, and i know theres a guy donw there in Texas thats selling wild pigt---and its GOOD---the best pork you ever ate--well ate least since i was a kid and we had resteraunts that saved food scraps for the pigs my grandparents
raised.Theres no doubt about--mass production,shipping concerns and shelf life are of more concern to agribusiness then taste!

tiki
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Tue, 04/27/04 8:09 PM
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Originally posted by emsmom

I remember, growing up, that we saved our table scraps and a friend of my Dads came by and picked them up to feed to his pigs. Then at Christmas, he would always bring us a country ham and other times during the year fresh sausage. Nothing we buy now taste anything like that did then.



Yep---a few yrs back i was cooking in a small Mexican place in Chico Ca --i decided to raise som pigs up to butcher and set up a few barrels at work for table scraps to feed them with---when it came time to butcher,Lilia--the lady who REALLY cooked the food at the resteraunt that the rest of us served out,ask if i was selling any of them---i asked---Why,do you want one Lily?. To which she replied---"Sure.i been seasoning that carnitas all summer,should taste good now,eh?----and she was right too

scbuzz
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/28/04 8:55 AM
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My grandmother always had a chicken yard full of chickens. Every evening she would go out and let them out of the chicken yard and let them roam around the regular yard. They would have a feast on worms and bugs ... but mainly june bugs. If you have ever heard of the southern saying "Like a chicken on a june bug" ... well let me tell you its true. The chickens would make a beeline for the fig tree (where the june bugs liked best) and jump all over them. Those were some happy chickens. My grandmother mainly used the chickens for eggs, but when they would get older and not produce eggs anymore she would cook them. Chickens always tasted much better back then. But then again, it could have been that I was just young, happy and with my grandparents !!!!

emsmom
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/28/04 9:01 AM
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I agree. When I think back,I always think that anything that my Grandmohter cooked always tasted the best. I remember thinking that she could cook green beans and new potatoes better than anybody and I even thought her sliced cucumbers were better than anyone elses
quote:
Originally posted by scbuzz

My grandmother always had a chicken yard full of chickens. Every evening she would go out and let them out of the chicken yard and let them roam around the regular yard. They would have a feast on worms and bugs ... but mainly june bugs. If you have ever heard of the southern saying "Like a chicken on a june bug" ... well let me tell you its true. The chickens would make a beeline for the fig tree (where the june bugs liked best) and jump all over them. Those were some happy chickens. My grandmother mainly used the chickens for eggs, but when they would get older and not produce eggs anymore she would cook them. Chickens always tasted much better back then. But then again, it could have been that I was just young, happy and with my grandparents !!!!

Jellybeans
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/28/04 9:35 AM
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My granma used to run a farm back during the colonial days and some years during the post-colonial years after independence. And until a few years ago when she and my grandad were still living on their own, she still reared chickens and slaughtered them herself (occasionally, I had to help by holding the chicken)

Man, those chickens were GOOD!!!! She would just steam them and serve with a tangy chilli pepper sauce and green/salad onions sliced thinly and soaked in a combination of soy sauce and oil, then poured all over it. We'd eat it with rice cooked in chicken fat--good yellow chicken fat.

YUM!!!!

Of course, only chicken reared free-range and fed well like this has enough taste to stand up to such simple cooking--literally no-frills!

emsmom
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/28/04 3:55 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by scbuzz

My grandmother always had a chicken yard full of chickens. Every evening she would go out and let them out of the chicken yard and let them roam around the regular yard. They would have a feast on worms and bugs ... but mainly june bugs. If you have ever heard of the southern saying "Like a chicken on a june bug" ... well let me tell you its true. The chickens would make a beeline for the fig tree (where the june bugs liked best) and jump all over them. Those were some happy chickens. My grandmother mainly used the chickens for eggs, but when they would get older and not produce eggs anymore she would cook them. Chickens always tasted much better back then. But then again, it could have been that I was just young, happy and with my grandparents !!!!

danimal15
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Wed, 04/28/04 5:08 PM
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I'm not old enough to know how chickens used to taste, but I recommend Aaron's brand of Kosher chicken. It has a wonderful chickeny flavor.

renfrew
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Thu, 04/29/04 8:27 AM
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Aarons is okay, Vineland kosher is better. And the best kosher chicken I have had is Wise Organic Kosher.

tiki
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Thu, 04/29/04 12:12 PM
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ORGANIC KOSHER eh?!---bet those are good chickens!

renfrew
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Thu, 04/29/04 12:14 PM
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Yep, it is pretty awesome. Only seen it in the NY/CT/MA area though.

HollyDolly
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Mon, 08/28/06 3:17 PM
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Never had any chicken raised on the farm though my dad did as a kid. Kosher chickens have to meet strict jewish dietary laws in how they are raised and killed,etc in order to be certified Kosher.I have seen kosher and free range chickens at HEB Grocery Stores here,especially Central Market,.
I'll have to splurge sometime and buy one to try it.

xannie_01
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Mon, 08/28/06 3:21 PM
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i only use kosher chickens when making chicken soup.
the difference in taste is tremendous.

fabulousoyster
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Tue, 08/29/06 10:23 AM
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I brine all whole and chicken parts too for at least 24 hours before, if I have the time. It does make a difference in the taste and texture.
2 qts water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt

Then I add 2 tbs of jerk seasoning into the water ( I make my own) blenderized with 1 onion, 4 garlic and 1 hot pepper. I place this all in a gigantic tupperware container in my refrigerator or you can use ziploc bags.
The next day, let drain well and bake or grill or fry, whatever you like.

Ashphalt
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Tue, 08/29/06 10:38 AM
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Interesting that in both the cases of Kosher and brined chicken you're talking about meat that's been treated with salt. I don't think of that as being the way chicken used to taste (not to say it's bad, or that I was there). BTW - how do they get those kosher roosters to wear their little yarmulkes?

My parents, children of the Depression, always insisted that chicken was the only thing that was better when I was a kid than when they were. I gather that chicken for them was frequently an old hen that was past her peak and sacrificed for dinner. They especially loved Purdue chickens when they hit the market in the early 70s. Tender, fatty, juicy and almost all white meat.

I also recall getting chickens when we were camping in the Florida Keys in the early 60s. They were locally produced and not from factory henhouses. We called them Pelicans. Tough, gummy, and gamy-tasting.

But I do sometimes buy organic or free-range chicken when it's on sale and there is a discernible difference. Definitely a more pronounced flavor, a bit leaner, frequently a little tougher than the falling-off-the bone Purdues we're used to, and tend to take a bit more cooking for the dark meat. They take brine very well. We like them for a change. We also find the air-chilled (rather than water soaked) chicken, natural or conventional, to be a bit firmer and more flavorful than most store birds.

V960
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Thu, 08/31/06 10:45 AM
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As a very small hobby farmer (the farm is small, not me) who is a sustainable ag nut I am quite pleased to read this thread. We used to have a CSA group but quit after the new organic laws went through and we had an incident w/ some PETA folks.

Our chickens roam where ever they please all day long. Our pigs are raised in pastures not concrete pens.

Another factor not mentioned is breeds. Todays pigs, chickens and just about everything else (unless you seek heirlom breeds, see website below) are engineered for production NOT taste. My chickens don't raise chicks...it has been bred out of them. In six years, we have had ONE single hen that raised chicks.

http://www.albc-usa.org/

Most pigs are not what was available years ago. Very lean w/ almost no fat. The processors want them delivered at between 220# and 230#...all the equipment is sized for them. Chickens are pretty much the same...standards are the rule. BTW, both pigs and chickens are usually fed antibiotics in their feed from birth to death.

Beef is a bit different. They get a growth hormone implant just after having their goodies removed.

http://www.mindfully.org/Farm/2003/RALGRO-Implant-Advertising28dec03.htm

These steers will weigh an extra 60-80 pounds at slaughter...the difference between profit and loss for a rancher. The markets demanded these changes.

Americans want meat delivered under plastic. "Easy peasey, nice and easy". A steak in a meat counter doesn't relate to a doe eyed steer.

On the flip side my Latino, Oriental and Muslim customers want the animal alive. They want to kill it and clean it. Whole new meaning to fresh meat.




Sundancer7
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Thu, 08/31/06 1:20 PM
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V960: What makes the chicks infertile??

Another factor not mentioned is breeds. Todays pigs, chickens and just about everything else (unless you seek heirlom breeds, see website below) are engineered for production NOT taste. My chickens don't raise chicks...it has been bred out of them. In six years, we have had ONE single hen that raised chicks.

Why do you buy the infertile chicks?

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

V960
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Tue, 09/5/06 2:23 PM
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The hens or eggs are not infertile. The hens just won't sit on the eggs.

The eggs are fertile, I incubate them and produce chicks that then either have to be taken care of by a capon or brooded away from the existing flock. If you dump small chicks in w/ the flock 1)its too cold for them and 2) the hens will attack and kill them.

The chickens are not infertile but the mothering instinct has been bred out of almost all of today's breeds. The instinct for sex in the males is still alive and well. Basically none of my hens have any feathers on their backs...the roosters spurs tear them off.

spicoli
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Tue, 10/17/06 1:19 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by renfrew

Yep, it is pretty awesome. Only seen it in the NY/CT/MA area though.


Trader Joe's sells it in their CA stores.

lleechef
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Tue, 10/17/06 2:50 PM
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Since this thread popped up again, I have a recent chicken story. We decided to have chicken fajitas Sunday night for supper so I went to Stater Bros. and got some boneless/skinless chicken breasts. Came home and made the fajitas......tasted pretty good. Of course when you get the spices, onion, pepper, tomato, cheese, etc. all rolled up in a flour tortilla, you could be eating anything. Later in the evening I ate just a piece of the chicken. Something was WRONG. So I checked the label......"enhanced for flavor and juciness with up to 15% water, salt and sodium phosphate". What the f^^^??!! I never asked for "enhanced" chicken! So in order to use up more of this nasty chicken I made gumbo last night. The roux was perfect, I browned the chicken, added the roux with the vegetables, last the okra. I never touched the salt. It was so salty I couldn't finish my bowl of gumbo. The rest of the chicken breasts are going in the trash.

1bbqboy
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Tue, 10/17/06 3:09 PM
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Well, aside from the fact boneless skinless=no taste, no matter how healthy, (I go with the Bone In Breast Pak Family Size-so I can throw a few in for soup/broth),
I agree with you.
We are lucky in Southern Oregon to get several Organic Brands of Chicken.
Here's One-
http://www.petalumapoultry.com/










0, I agree

lleechef
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RE: The way chicken used to taste - Tue, 10/17/06 3:35 PM
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Hey everyone, bill voss is BACK!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!

I'm going to look at the labels very closely now when I buy any meat or poultry.

When I was the chef at the Trillium Restaurant in Traverse City, MI we bought Petaluma ducks......best duck I ever ate. I'm sure if I do my homework I can find organic chicken here, after all, I am next to Palm Springs, not out in the toolies of Alaska!